Idolator Is Wrong – Why a Music Conference Called CMJ Will Affect What You Listen To


Despite last week’s glut of CMJ coverage on music blogs (we’ve done it too in past lives), the most pressing question went virtually unasked: does anyone actually care about this industry conference outside of New York?

Sure, next to its BBQ-obsessed brethren SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST, CMJ is pretty much the biggest game in existence, but that doesn’t mean much in the real world.

Our friends at Idolator (who, ironically, devoted a number of posts to the event) contend that the “breathless commentary…doesn’t mean much to those outside your particular favorite coastal metropolis.”

After the jump, why we think that they’re wrong.

There’s no question the tidal wave of coverage is overwhelming, even for us — and we REALLY care. But do we really need to know every move made by every whisker-hawking Pitchfork writer? Does it really matter that we had trouble getting into a venue? (FYI, rolling a friend’s wet stamp onto your hand totally works at the Music Hall of Williamsburg!).

The problem is that many bloggers really do care, at least about seeing lots of bands, and to score that coveted press credential, you’ve got to actually write something. Since everyone else is also out in force, you feel the need to distinguish yourself. Thus the blogger brigades emerge from their half-lit rooms and fight to offer the most comprehensive coverage — even though no one actually asked for it.

But that doesn’t mean CMJ isn’t relevant outside of New York. Sure, the hype is unbearable, but this event consistently crowns the next year’s kings and queens of the indie music scene — and act as a good indicator of who is destined for mainstream success or sure to pop up in the background on next week’s episode of GOSSIP GIRL.

Next year maybe the thing to do isn’t to describe, photograph, and analyze every bead of sweat on LYKKE LI’s brow. How about we wait until a few days after the event, let the dust settle, and then, if it still seems important, talk about the fact that this fairly unknown Swedish singer really did have the best set of the fest?

– Andrew Phillips

* photo by Malarky